I went to create a character and the option for HC is gone. I looked it up in the manual and checked to see if what I thought was true - it was. I must complete normal mode before I can make a HC character. Is there a way around this?
no, you have to complete normal at least once with any character. its not hard. dont bother with lvling much, just qucikly find your way through act 5 and norm baal is not as bad for most characters as you expect the first time.
theres no way aroudn it other than gettign someone you knwo to send you a nm character file, put it in your save folder and you can do it, but most peopel wont do that for you if they dont know you.
Like Borlag said, ATMA can create an HC character. Then you either use it or make one, once that is done you can make all you want. This isn't a cheat, it was a means to "idiot proof" the game against the mentally challenged who would undoubtedly create HC characters, die, lose stuff and blame Blizzard in raving fits of adolescent angst. Not everyone has the pleasure to blame Durf.
Besides, I lost my HD about 2 months ago or near that and had this same problem, and at that time I had the highest character in the SPHCL, so I hardly felt I was "cheating" anything. JohnnyBravo had an SPHCL character until his HD problem.
The other method is to gently nudge one of the test characters from the warehouse pack into your save folder, create your HC character, delete the lvl 99 character. 'tis what I did... and I'm hardly a HC n00b whose going to whinge to bliz when my character dies... :teeth: